16 March 2012

It's a Family Affair

Some researchers may only be interested in going straight back in time, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.. But sometimes you need to go sideways in order to go back. Don't just work with a child and their parents but with the entire family.
1. Having trouble finding your family of Smiths on a census? You can narrow down which family is yours with a list of the children. There may be a few families with children named John, Mary, Jane, Anna and James but how many of them have those names in the same birth order?
2. Can't find the mother's maiden name? It may not be on your direct ancestor's death certificate but what about the death certificates of all their siblings. If the DCs aren't available online and it will cost you to get them all, start with the sibling who died first. With more family still living the odds of someone remembering go up.
3. Missing the parents on a census? They could be living with one of the children's families. If the parent's name is transcribed incorrectly you have another shot at finding them through a child.
4. You may not want to include all the cousins, that's up to you, but I would suggest at least including the names of the daughters' husbands. That will make it easier to find death records.

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